Saturday, April 28, 2007

Corrupt "social gospel" church hid the secret of the choirmaster who abused boys

The church's infatuation with homosexuals wouldn't have anything to do with it, of course

The Church of England was accused of a cover-up after a choirmaster who systematically abused children in his care was allowed to become a school governor. Peter Halliday admitted sexually molesting boys as young as nine, nearly 20 years ago. But Church authorities did not tell the police. Instead, they allowed him to quietly leave - on the promise he would change his ways.

As Halliday finally began a jail sentence for his crimes, it was revealed he was only caught after one of his victims saw a TV programme on sexual abuse in the Church. When he checked on the Internet and discovered his former tormentor was still working with children, he called police.

Child safety campaigners yesterday criticised the Church's "serious mishandling" of the case. Halliday, 61, was sentenced to two and half years in prison after he admitted ten counts of sexual abuse between 1986 and 1990. Winchester Crown Court heard the former choirmaster at St Peter's Church in Farnborough, Hampshire, was so trusted by his victims' families that the boys were allowed to stay at his home.

Described in court as "a bully and a revolting character", he attacked the boys at his home, during swimming lessons and on camping trips. Now in their twenties and thirties, the victims, one of whom is head of music at a private school, are still coming to terms with what they went through.

The court heard Halliday could have been stopped in 1990 when the rector of St Peter's, the Reverend Alan Boddington, was informed about the abuse. Yet Mr Boddington and the then Bishop of Dorking, David Wilcox, told Halliday he could leave quietly as long as he had no more contact with children. The court heard Halliday was on the board of governors of a secondary school in Farnborough from 1988 to 2000 but had no unsupervised contact with children. When he was seen at a choir concert in 1993, the victim who had already complained to the Church again expressed his concerns. But nothing was done.

Halliday, a married father, would have escaped justice had one of his victims not researched him on the Internet and found he was a school governor and working with a children's choir. After the hearing the Church insisted it had done nothing wrong, saying officials "acted in good faith".

Child protection workers said it had failed, however. David Pearson, of the Churches' Child Protection Advisory Service, said: "Had we been contacted by the Church authorities then we would have had no hesitation in telling them to go straight to the police."

Halliday was also ordered to pay 2,000 pounds compensation to each victim. One recalled his horror at meeting Halliday in 1993 on a course. He said: "I was just aghast. Younger brothers of friends were there. I was scared for myself, but also terrified for them."


A church that has forgotten how to repent its sins

More proof that its gospel is a secular rather than a Christian one these days

Turn on the Today programme, and most days you will hear some stonewalling corporate affairs sap, who has undergone "media training" and been told to stick to his script no matter what. It always makes me splutter into my coffee. Asked to defend the leaking of an oil pipeline, he will say: "The important thing is that best-practice policies are in place to ensure that clean-up procedures are strictly adhered to, and we at Polluting Petroleum want to assure you that we have the best interests of local people at heart." Translation: they're covered in oil and their crops are ruined, but I don't suppose many of them have shares in PP or will make a fuss at the AGM. As long as we get through today, we'll be OK.

You might expect such flannelling from business people and politicians. But from the Church of England? Surely not. Yet yesterday produced the worst splutterfest ever. The hapless spokeswoman was the Rev Pearl Luxon. She had been put up by the Church to talk about its role in failing to prevent a paedophile choirmaster, Peter Halliday, from abusing children. As one of the victims said: "When your first sexual experience is of a 40-year-old man forcing himself on you, it's pretty horrific." But the Church told neither the police nor social services and simply asked Halliday to leave.

Was Mrs Luxon, who is in charge of child protection at the C of E, contrite? Not a bit of it. Her first sin was to say that she could not comment on the case at all. "Why?" asked John Humphrys. "This is not a live case. The man has admitted his guilt and will be sentenced today. It is incumbent upon you to comment on this case, surely?"

"No, I cannot comment on this particular case," intoned the robot again. No reason. All she would say, time and time again, was that the Church had "robust policies in place" to deal with child abuse. When Humphrys tried to make her acknowledge that things had gone very badly wrong over Halliday, her answer was so unsatisfactory that it deserves printing in full: "These matters are always reviewed after they occur and we learn from our mistakes and our good practice is improved at all stages when these matters are looked at. Robust policies are improved through learning from the past and from following the guidance and good practice that happens now." Aaargh!

Does this woman have no shame? Has she stopped to think about the consequences of the Church's actions, or rather inactions? Presumably not, as she displayed not a shred of regret, let alone apology. If I were offering her media training, I would advise her to say: "We are desperately sorry that this occurred. We got it badly wrong. We apologise to the victims and will make sure that it never happens again." It's not that hard, is it?


Non-English Britain

Immigration correctness is having huge effects

One in five schoolchildren is from an ethnic minority - almost double the figure a decade ago. The annual school census reveals a Britain where one in eight pupils speaks a language other than English at home. The record figures include more than 40,000 children from Eastern Europe who have enrolled at schools since the enlargement of the European Union in 2004.

The statistics emerged as the race relations watchdog warned that Britain's segregated schools are a "ticking timebomb". The Commission for Racial Equality's director of policy said parents must stop sending their children to schools where most pupils come from similar religious or racial backgrounds. Nick Johnson also suggested schools should be given more money to admit a racially mixed intake. He said: "We're in fear of turning into a mini-America with racially determined schools. "Schools are where our children first learn how to get along with people from other cultures and backgrounds. Racially segregated schools prevent this from happening. This is a ticking timebomb."

His comments came as figures published by the Department for Education and Skills showed the biggest year- on-year increase in ethnic minority pupils for a decade. They account for just under a fifth (19.8 per cent) of England's 6.5 million primary and secondary pupils, up from 11 per cent when Labour came to power. Meanwhile, the number of primary pupils alone who do not speak English as their first language increased by seven per cent from last year to 448,000 - or about one child in seven. Overall, it is around one in eight.

But the Commission for Racial Equality is concerned that there are not enough resources to integrate pupils from such diverse backgrounds. Mr Johnson said he was particularly worried about Tony Blair's controversial city academies and trust schools. He added that some of these are using their extra freedoms to "cream off pupils from certain ethnic backgrounds or religions, thus ... increasing racial tensions".

The Conservatives said ministers had been caught off-guard by the increase in non-native English speakers in schools. Tory education spokesman David Willetts said: "The Government has completely failed to keep up with the rate of change in our school population." A DfES spokesman said: "The Education and Inspections Act 2006 placed a new duty on the governing bodies of all maintained schools, including faith schools, to promote community cohesion."



Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.

American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.

For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.


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